Catherine has extended oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She has had it for about twenty years and experiences pain in many joints. Even though the pain has got worse as she has got older, she still praises her health care team and considers herself ‘lucky’.
Catherine has extended oligoarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She has had it for about twenty years and was diagnosed when she was four or five years old. She experiences pain and swelling in many joints, including her knees, hips, wrists, ankles, elbows and neck.
Catherine has been on several different medications since being diagnosed. At least once a year she has steroid injections in each of her joints. She was on Enbrel (etanercept) for about six years but it suddenly stopped working. She tried methotrexate but this made her feel sick and gives her stomach cramps. She is now on Humira (adalimumab) but this is not helping much with the pain and flare ups. Two years before being interviewed Catherine had knee surgery (synovectomy) to help reduce swelling and damage.
Even though her medications were not working at the time of the interview, Catherine still praised her healthcare team. She said that she felt lucky to have had excellent treatment and support by the lovely people caring for her. She remains positive that they can find medicines that work again. Catherine practices mindfulness meditation to help her live with the pain. Friends and family help Catherine during a flare-up by providing a fun distraction.
Catherine does not remember her arthritis getting in the way of anything when she was at school. She did not miss out on any activities or lessons. However, as an adult, Catherine’s arthritis has had an impact on her life. She in more pain and has noticed that the fatigue gets worse as she gets older. She has to pace herself more and be careful at work.
In spite of her arthritis, Catherine has managed to graduate with a degree in psychology and works as a health care assistant and honorary assistant psychologist. Her goal is to train as a clinical psychologist.